On Saturday morning I headed over to the Central Library for Sally Quilford's workshop on writing pocket novels. This is an ever-changing arena right now, so the best advice is to write the story you want (within the constraints and moral framework of 'pocket novel world') and then try to find a home for it. The romances are very traditional and firmly heterosexual, but I still like the concept of telling a story in such a tight framework. We also did a few writing exercises and there was a draw for two bags of books (I won the first prize).
After the workshop, I briefly said hello to Helen Hunt, who was running the next workshop, before continuing on my way to the Corn Exchange and the Romance Fair. The room was packed with authors and their books, but I managed to almost stick to my resolution not to buy any books not on my existing must-have list (slightly thwarted by the utterly lovely Louise Allen offering three books for a tenner and by various others, including Fiona Harper giving books away for free). I also caught up with Phillipa Ashley, Caroline Bell Foster, Lucy Felthouse and Hazel Osmond amongst others.
After being generally fannish at various of the above, with a short break to find a pannini, I followed Charlie to the shopping centre where various authors were reading. This was a slightly surreal experience, although Charlie, at least caused a few shoppers to stop and listen.
In the evening, I went to a more civilised series of readings at the Rock City Art Gallery, was persuaded to join various authors for dinner at their hotel and then hung out in the bar with Charlie and Jay Rookwood (who lives very close to the Shakespeare Hotel and so could be enticed out as Charlie's Saturday night 'date').
Honourable mention should also go to the wandering actors who directed folk to the various festival venues and performed scenes from historical novels at random points through the day.
[ETA:] Photos of Charlie reading in the shopping centre are now here:
Details of Day Two to follow soon...